Holistic Management of Skin Diseases
It is a fact that skin disorders are difficult to eradicate totally. Hence we find much diversity in the management approach towards treating skin disorders..In the treatment of skin diseases (known as Kushta), Ayurveda adopts a total approach towards skin disorders, with inclusion on all the stages i.e. from the formation of skin, its structure, function and the causative factors, Symptomatology and the manifold unique treatment approach that includes body purification (Panchakarma) and rejuvenation (Rasayana).
What is Kushta
Impairment of skin as discoloration, ulceration, scaling, oozing, pus formation, raising and swelling are collectively called Kushtha (Skin diseases) in Ayurveda concept. According to Ayurveda text there are eleven types of main categories of Kushthas has been discussed .One of the common skin diseases is called Vicharchika which is known as (Eczema) to many people.
Eczema is a common condition that it affects almost every one of five children during their school-going age. It is also a very common disease found in infants. Eczema in adults could be a recurring chronic condition, which the person may have to live with throughout life. Hence, it can be said that Eczema is one of the most prevalent skin problems in the world today.
What causes Eczema
This is caused due to the vitiation of all the three Doshas, Vata, Pitt and Kapha. The Pitta vitiated Eczema is the most common form. Vitiation of the skin occurs through imbalance between the Pitta and the blood to produce Eczema.
What are the types and characters of Eczema?
According to Ayurveda mainly three types can be identified according to prominent Doshic aspects.
1. Xerotic Eczema: This kind of eczema is reflected in constant dryness of the skin and corresponds to the VataDosha type in Ayurdeva. It is often found to represent the most frequent cause of itching and often reported or seen in athletes. This condition is characterized by dehydration with redness, dry scaling and fine superficial cracking of the skin. Although these changes can occur in patches over several parts of the body, one commonly sees these changes on the lower legs.
2. Weeping Eczema: This type cause oozing from affected part. Burning sensation and fever can be occurred. When the skin is infected, skin becomes extremely inflamed and itchy. It corresponds to the Pitta Dosha type in Ayurveda.
3. Atopic Eczema: This type of Atopic dermatitis (eczema), is co-related to the KaphaDosha type in Ayurveda. The term Atopic is originally used to describe the allergic conditions asthma and hay fever. This type was included in the atopic category because it often affects people who either suffer from
asthma and/or hay fever or have family members who do. Physicians often refer to these three conditions of Eczema as the “atopic triad.” But this is not contagious. Research indicates that atopic diseases like Atopic eczema are genetically determined, inherited from one’s parents (According to Ayurveda Beeja, BeejaBhagaDosha). Here the changes of the skin includes redness, blistering, oozing, crusting, scaling, thickening and sometimes pigmentation (although not all of these changes will necessarily occur together).This type can be affects both sexes equally and usually starts in the first weeks or months of life. It is most common in children, affecting at least 10% of infants at some stage. It usually disappears during childhood, although it can carry on into adult life or come back in the teenage or early adult years. It may occasionally develop for the first time in adulthood.
Ayurveda treatment is unique for skin disorders?
According to Ayurveda, the skin has six layers, located not only superficially but extending to the deeper levels of the body. A skin disease is, mostly, rooted deeply into various dhatus or tissues like fat, muscles, blood etc. Most skin treatments are generally external applications sometimes causes
another form of skin disorder from the treatments itself. These, however, never reach the deeper layers of the skin. As a result, the symptoms disappear temporarily, and the disease is not rooted out permanently. Ayurveda always tries to root out the disease by treating it specifically according to its cause with holistic approach. Most of the skin diseases is related to improper and wrong metabolic process (problems in Agni vyapara).So as the disease is deep seated it is difficult to fix the problem without correcting metabolic process in cells. Therefore Ayurvedic skin treatments may take a few weeks to remove the symptoms but the diseases are treated permanently.
What are the Ayurveda systemic treatments for Eczema?
In Ayurveda concepts the principles of treatment of eczema is different pattern compare to contemporary medicine. Following are the main treatment steps to follow this type of skin disorders.
1. Avoiding the formation of Ama (Detoxification therapy) by increasing the body fire (Agni)
2. Expelling the already formed Ama
3. Reduction of local conditions (Shamana treatment).
4. Rejuvenating the affected areas of body.
Detoxification Procedures: (Panchakarma Chikitsa)
This is a purification procedure for body channels. This therapy is based for eliminate of Ama (toxic byproduct generated due to improper or incomplete digestion) from the body. The recommended procedures are as follows: Snehana (Internal and external oleation to the body / affected parts is given as a preliminary process), Swedana (this is done by application of steam on the affected parts.) Vamana Karma (medically administered vomiting), Virechana Karma (It is a type of Purgation which is induced by oral intake or herbal compound preparations).
Bloodletting again is performed in various ways the common methods used in practice are as follows,
a) Jalaukavcharan (Leech therapy) – The characteristic feature of leech is it only sucks the impure
blood from the body. In conditions like painful cracked heels or soles and palms due to excessive dryness, due to vitiated pitta, in skin diseases.
b) Bloodletting by syringe - Blood is removed by puncturing the vein.
c) Viddha karma: This is a miniature of bloodletting; a very small puncture is done with the help of an insulin needle. The knowledge of vital points and symptom related points is essential.
Internal and external herbal medicines:
Some herbal productions are used according to patients’ conditions (Churna, KashayaVati, Kalaka etc.).In Ayurveda treatment not only based on local treatment for pain and itching management. These medicines involve in correction of digestion power (“Agni”) which leads to enhance immunity in body.
Application of herbal paste (Patthu/Lepa):
Lepa literally means application of paste of herbs on the affected area. Usually applied according to Doshic conditions.
What are the Ayurveda holistic treatments for eczema?
Dietary and life style management
Two of the main causes of diseases in Ayurveda are a wrong diet and lifestyle, which an individual follows either knowingly or unknowingly. Following a diet or life style that is against the season or the prakriti(nature) of a person, creates an imbalance in bodily energies, thus contaminating the body tissues to produce a skin disease. In Ayurvedic terms, although skin diseases are caused due to imbalances in all the three doshas, the prime dosha involved is pitta. Pitta symbolizes heat or fire.
Therefore all those foods or activities that increase the fire element in the body should be eliminated. This includes hot, spicy, fried, oily and greasy foods. Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, yogurt and vinegar should be avoided. Exposure to heat and sun, drinking too much tea, coffee, and alcohol, and smoking also aggravate the pitta. Consuming food in spite of persistent indigestion (AjeernaBhojana) is another causative factor for this disease.
Mental factors like fear (Bhaya) fatigue / lassitude (Shrama), anger (Krodha) also responsible for Kushtaroga. So we have to control those mental factors.
Benefits of yoga and exercise
The psychological benefits of exercise such as stress reduction, fewer depressive symptoms, improved coping and well-being and enhanced immune functioning also contribute to greater overall
health. Holistic (or mind-body integrating) movement practices with origins in eastern philosophy and culture are receiving a great deal of attention recently. Yoga has several goals, such as improving physical health and enhancing mental well-being and emotional balance that may be especially beneficial for people with chronic diseases.
Lifestyle modifications are the first line of defense in controlling Vicharchika, regardless of whether the condition is mild, moderate, or severe. Continuing to follow these guidelines once the signs and symptoms clear can help prevent further outbreaks.
Eczema is usually dry and itchy, so applying moisturizers as needed to keep the skin moist is part of an effective treatment plan. Frequent moisturizing locks in the skin’s own moisture to prevent dryness and cracking. If you use herbal natural moisturizers it will soothe the condition well.
2. Limit contact with anything that irritates the skin.
3. Avoid sweating and overheating.
4. Avoid sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
5. Grab a cold compress to curb the itch.
6. Keep fingernails short.
7. Dress in loose-fitting cotton clothes.
8. Reduce stress. Stress reduction plays a key role in preventing eczema flares.
9. For Atopic dermatitis limit exposure to environmental triggers Pollens, molds, mites, and animal dander can cause flare-ups)
10. Find out if any food(s) triggers the atopic dermatitis.
11. Talk to your doctor about what seems to be causing your flare-ups and try to avoid your triggers.